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Application of Textiles in Aerospace Engineering

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  1. Sadain Saem Shraban, Farzana Akter Liza & Mohammad Tariqul Islam ( Student, Northern University Bangladesh)
  2. Shahjalal & Abdullah Al Saeed ( Lecturer, Northern University Bangladesh)

Aerospace Textiles

Textiles have always played an important role in optimizing air travel. Materials such as silk or canvas were some of the first materials used in aircraft and, without the weight reduction that they provide, our pioneers would not have been able to fly at all. Today, high-performance textiles play a major role in increasing efficiency and flexibility while reducing costs. In the last few years, highly developed specialty textiles have been rediscovered for use in building aircraft, spacecraft, cars, and ships. When examine current developments in the automotive, nautical and aerospace industries, it quickly becomes clear that high-performance textiles are an essential component of the manufacturing process that we could not live without.

Application area of textiles in aircraft

The main technical challenges for the textile technologist are safety (mainly with respect to flame retardancy) and weight saving. It is estimated that for every 1 kg of weight saved in an aircraft, £150 a year is saved in fuel costs, whilst a 100 kg lighter load can increase the range by 100km. Reduced flammability is vital and statistics show that fire accounts for over 25% of deaths in aircraft accidents. Typical areas of textiles are as follows-

  • Furnishing fabrics
  • Fibre-reinforced composites
  • Technical fabrics
  • Nylon tyre cord
  • Seat belt Webbing
  • Air bags
  • Carpets
  • Rotor blades
  • Wings
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Circuit boards
  • Webbing for aircraft
  • Aircraft upholstery
  • Parasuits
  • Space shuttle
  • Space suits
  • And so on

Industry Innovation

Major fibres and resigns used in aircraft

Kavlar: Kevlar is the trade name for Aramid fibres. Kevlar fibres are known for the ability to provide quality and consistency, which are critical for aerospace applications. Kevlar fabrics are used in containment wraps, which perform the important role in preventing the broken engine blades from damaging the aircraft or entering the compartment of the passengers.

  • They are heat resistant High strength and modulus.
  • Good resistance to abrasion.
  • Good fabric integrity even at elevated temperatures.
  • Corrosion resistance.

Carbon fibre: It is the material consisting of extremely thin fibres about 0.0002 – 0.0004” in diameter and contains mostly carbon atoms as it is produced as the by-product during the cracking process of crude oil. It is also called as graphite fibre.

  • Excellent tensile strength.
  • Heat resistance.
  • Chemical resistance.
  • Keeping in the view of these properties, these fibres are used as reinforcing moulds, and heat insulating materials.

Apart from this, these fibres are used as raw materials for the manufacture and design of special utility components of aviation machine, space shuttle, rockets etc.

Alumina-boria-silica fibres: Nextel is the trade name for Alumina-boria silica fibers. Retain strength.

  • Fig. Alumina – Boria – Silica Fibre

    Fig. Alumina – Boria – Silica Fibre

    Flexibility with little shrinkage even at continuous temperatures up to 2012°F (1100°C).

  • Silicon carbide fibre.
  • These fibres are similar to carbon fibres.
  • Heat resistance.
  • Corrosion resistance.
  • Elasticity.
  • Withstand temperature as high as 1500 degree Celsius.

Glass fibre

  • Fig. Glass fibre fabrication

    Fig. Glass fibre fabrication

    High tensile strength: Glass has greater tensile strength than steel wire of the same diameter; at a lower weight.

  • Dimensional stability: Consist of a low elongation load, typically 3% or less.
  • High heat resistance: Glass fabrics retain 50% of room temperature tensile strength at 700°F, 25% at 900°F, a softening point of 1,555°F and a melting point of 2,075°F.
  • Fire resistance: Made up of inorganic materials making the product non-combustible.
  • Good thermal conductivity: Glass fibers are great thermal insulators because of their high ratio of surface area to weight.
  • Good chemical resistance: Highly resistant to the attack by most chemicals.
    Other Fibres Used in Aerospace Engineering
    Good chemical resistance: 
    Highly resistant to the attack by most chemicals.
  • Outstanding electrical properties: Has a high dielectric strength and low dielectric constant.
  • Durability: Not prone to sunlight, fungi or bacteria.
  • Economical: A cost efficient choice compared to similar products.

Number ofother fibres includes Poly fibre, Boron fibre, Steel, Acrylic, Nylon, Polyeurathene, Vinyl ester Etc are used.

Fibre Composits Used in Aircraft Manufacturing

  • Carbon/Epoxy- Used as primary structure and skin.
  • Kevlar/ Epoxy- Mostly used in military application, in primary structure and armour plating.
  • Glass fibre- Used as a structural and skin material ( on amateur –build and air craft)
  • Glass/Phenolic (GFRP)- Used in interior fittings, furnishing and structures.
  • Poly Fibre- Can be rejuvenated after years of weathering. Poly fibre is only all vinyl systems in which bonds extremely well to polyester fabrics and remains flexible when its dries and does not support combustion.
Rotor Blade

Fig. Rotor Blade

Textiles in Aircraft Manufacturing

 Rotor Blade

– Subjected to aerodynamic, inertial and centrifugal forces.

– Air thrust produced varies from 90N to 569KN.- Acts to flap wise, cord wise, Axial and tortional load.

– Carbon fibre fatigue replaced with boronfibre.

Aircraft Engine

Fig. Aircraft Engine

– Aluminum alloy, graphite composite, or titanium spur aluminum pocket and skin   with honeycomb core or cross- ply glass exterior. Aluminum failing near 40,000 cycles and the composite blade exceeding 500,000 cycles without failure. 

 Flight Surface and Rotor inner side covering gainst ballistic impact 

  • Composite Layer around aircraft

    Composite Layer around aircraft

    Broken parts of rotor blade can can act as projectile and from external effect.

  • Woven structure
  • Material Kevlar, nylon, glass fibre metalresign and aromatic polyamide.
  • High coefficient friction between fibre strands.
  • Composite layers preferred 300.
  • Carbon/Epoxy composite structure susceptible to low impact damage.

Aircraft Interior Designing

The inside of aircraft and spacecraft also depend on the use of many different textile developments. The industry is constantly developing more sophisticated and ever more rugged cables that, unlike rubber or plastics, are coated in hardwearing textiles. They often provide higher levels of durability and resilience. Drive belts are used in engines in the automotive sector as well as aircraft, spacecraft, and onboard ships. While they were primarily made of rubber or flexible plastic in the past, textile mixtures have demonstrated durability in many applications. When fitting out an interior, fabrics have always been part of the landscape – and these hard-wearing, yet comfortable and safe fabrics are vital for covering aircraft and automotive seats. They must demonstrate qualities that matter in everyday use, and it’s just as important for them to be easy to clean as to be fire-resistant and free of pollutants that could evaporate and pollute the air. This last issue was a problem in the 1970s and 1980s when there were hardly any restrictions on the use of synthetic fabrics and dyes. Modern materials such as microfibres, nanotechnology, and new plastics have revolutionised the use of textiles in interiors.

Aircraft Interior

Aircraft Interior

Aircraft Interior Designing

Aircraft Interior

Upholstery

  • Baron/Epoxy composite straps developed by the US Sandia National Laboratories to repair fatigued cabin and cargo door corners on the L-1011 and DC10
  • Lightweight Carpets-Lantal Textiles-880 g/sqm
  • An armored cockpit- Dyneema
Application Fiber type
Steel cover slit sheet Nylon
Door trim panel padding Polyester
Airline and headlines Nylon
Trunk cover PVC coated
Interior carpet Nylon
Tire cords PET, glass, nylon-6, Polyester, etc.
Shelf panel cover Polypropylene
Hood panel insulator Glass
Fig. Tyre

Fig. Tyre

Tyre

  • The load rating for the aircraft tire is 13,000 pounds compared to the automotive tire with 835 pounds
  • Aircraft tire is normally inflated 300 psi where the car tire is inflated to 32 psi
  • Aircraft tire 275 mph, car tire is rated to 100 mph
  • A380 maximum takeoff weight: 560 tons
  • Load on one main landing wheel: 260.68 kN
  • The inflation pressure: 15 and 17 bars

Flexible fabric fuel tank

  • Petro-Shield
    • Flexible fuel Tank

      Fig. Flexible fuel Tank

      S. military specification MIL-T-52983D, MIL-T-52983E,

    • MIL-T-52983F, MIL-T-52983G, ATPD2266 and
    • MIL-PRF-32233 for fuel tanks
    • Suitable for carrying kerosene, diesel and fuels with less than 40% aromatic content
    • 12 liters per second
    Tensile Strength 2000 lb (8.90 KN); Tear Strength 350 lb (1.56 KN); Puncture Strength 400 lb (1.78 KN); Seam Strength 2000 lb (8.90 KN)
  • Weight savings about approximately 300 kilogram each flight corresponding in 30,000 EUR savings for each Boeing 757-200 aircraft per year.
Fig. Parasuite

Fig. Parasuite

Parachute

  • The balloon envelopes are made of special high tenacity fire resistant material called rip-stop nylon 6.6 fabric with tough, durable coatings for heat and air retention
  • UV, Heat, Abrasion resistance
  • Strength, light-weight, Longevity

Astronauts Functional Clothing

Astronauts functional Clothing

Astronauts functional Clothing

Every kilograms that needs to be launched in a spacecraft increases both fuel consumption and costs. For that reason, tough textile materials are used wherever space and weight savings are particularly important, such as future accommodation for Mars astronauts that will need to be easy to transport and construct. In such a hostile environment as Mars, it goes without saying that the accommodation needs to be 100% safe, both to build and to live in. No one can afford to make any mistakes, and that’s another reason why the development of new technologies in the field of textiles is so exciting. Products that we wear at the gym and in everyday life almost always owe their origins to aviation and space research. Pilots are also dependent on special clothing, such as anti G-force trousers, which prevent the blood from sinking into the lower extremities, or fireproof underwear, which can even be liquid cooled if required in the specific application; without developments such as these, the space and aviation sectors would still be in their infancy, especially in terms of test flights.

image021

Future Developments

Every kilograms that needs to be launched in a spacecraft increases both fuel consumption and costs. For that reason, tough textile materials are used wherever space and weight savings are particularly important, such as future accommodation for Mars astronauts that will need to be easy to transport and construct. In such a hostile environment as Mars, it goes without saying that the accommodation needs to be 100% safe, both to build and to live in. No one can afford to make any mistakes, and that’s another reason why the development of new technologies in the field of textiles is so exciting. Products that we wear at the gym and in everyday life almost always owe their origins to aviation and space research. Pilots are also dependent on special clothing, such as anti G-force trousers, which prevent the blood from sinking into the lower extremities, or fireproof underwear, which can even be liquid cooled if required in the specific application; without developments such as these, the space and aviation sectors would still be in their infancy, especially in terms of test flights.Astronauts Functional Clothing

The future of modern textiles in the aviation sector, in aeroplane interiors and bodies, as well as in functional clothing, will be vital for the future development of high-performance aircraft and spacecraft. Low weight, high strength, cost efficiency, ease of working with the materials, and safety are all parameters that can only be achieved using other materials with difficulty, if at all. Innovations, such as incorporating bionics into the development of new textile solutions, will open completely new solutions for engineers and scientists. Before the theory can be put into practice, the challenge of developing efficient production processes will always remain, so that ideas such as versatile spider silk can be transformed into a practical reality.

References

  1. handbook_of_technical_textile_ by Edited by A R Horrocks and S C Anand pages 519-521
  2. https://textilelearner.net/aerospace-textiles-raw-materials-and-applications/
  3. https://arts.eu/blog/textiles-in-industry-the-importance-of-modern-textiles-in-the-aerospace-industry
  4. https://www.slideshare.net/vigneshdhanabalan/textiles-in-aircraft
  5. google.com
  6. https://www.wikipedia.org/
 

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